Expert with best answer


100% Recommendation Rate

311 Meetings

1,788 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Clarifying questions in an M&A case

Anonymous A asked on Oct 17, 2018 - 4 answers

The underlying reason for an acquisiton always helps to understand the motivations of the client and come up with synergies to consiser. Although, is it appropriate to ask this as a clarifying questin or better ask while discussing the company analysis as part of the structure?

4 answers

  • Upvotes
  • Date ascending
  • Date descending
Best Answer
replied on Oct 17, 2018
McKinsey Engagement Manager & BCG Consultant | Interviewer at McK & BCG for 7 years | Coached 100+ candidates secure MBB offers
Book a coaching with Sidi

100% Recommendation Rate

311 Meetings

1,788 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I have a clear view on this: the motivation for the considered move definitely has to be part of your clarifiying questions! Imperatively! I even would argue that it is impossible to carve out a meaningful and specific structure for such go/no go- cases without verifying the underlying objective first.

Your structure then needs to be rooted in the clients precise question and the corresponding criterion to answer this question (which, by pure logic, can only be defined if your know the motivation/objective).

Cheers, Sidi

Vlad replied on Oct 17, 2018
McKinsey / Accenture / Got all BIG3 offers / More than 300 real MBB cases / Harvard Business School
Book a coaching with Vlad

98% Recommendation Rate

350 Meetings

4,994 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching


Yes, definitely! You should understand:

  1. The real reasons for the acquisition
  2. Timeline for integration
  3. Expectations for synergies

In case of PE Acquisition you need also know:

  1. Synergies with the current portfolio
  2. Exit $ expectation
  3. Exit time


Francesco replied on Oct 18, 2018
#1 Expert for Coaching Sessions (2.400+) | 1.100+ Reviews with 100% Recommendation Rate | Ex BCG | 6 Years Coaching Experience
Book a coaching with Francesco

100% Recommendation Rate

2,416 Meetings

2,581 Q&A Upvotes

USD 319 / Coaching

Hi Anonymous,

I agree with Vlad, Sidi and Elias, it is a better idea to clarify the goal of the acquisition upfront. Knowing the goal from the beginning allows to have a structure more clearly fitting the objective of the client, and ensures you don't forget to ask this question later on.

In general terms, you can always ask at the beginning questions related to:

  1. Understand how the business model of the client works
  2. Clarify the elements that were not clear in the prompt
  3. Identify the goal and the constraints of the client to achieve it


replied on Oct 17, 2018
Experienced strategy consultant, now running own consulting business
Book a coaching with Elias

2 Meetings

298 Q&A Upvotes

USD 149 / Coaching

Sure you can ask, especially if you frame the question like you did "to understand the motivations of the client and come up with synergies to consider". You'll either get an answer (good), or the interviewer will tell you to proceed without an answer or speculate for yourself...

But I don't believe it would be a question that can "hurt" you.

Related BootCamp article(s)

Mergers and Acquisitions

Mergers & Acquisitions are often the answer to broader problems introduced in your Case interviews. Analyze feasibility, assets, target and industry to crack the Merger & Acquisition case

Competitive Response

In a competitive response case study, your job is either to analyze what your client should do in response to a move performed by a major competitor or to anticipate what competitors will do in response to a move performed by the client

Opportunity Costs

Opportunity costs are an economic concept to quantify benefits of (discarded) alternatives. They measure the lost benefits that occur if you choose the best alternative instead of the second best one.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Investments or single business cases need to be evaluated based on a certain set of criteria. Since financial performance is the key criterion in most cases you need to have an idea about future financial impacts. A key tool to asses this impact is the cost-benefit analysis which is used to determine the net effect of potential revenues and costs.

1 Q&A

Related case(s)

General Holding

Solved 34.7k times
4.3 5 1191
| Rating: (4.3 / 5.0) |

Our client is a French holding company with annual revenues of about €1 billion. Their portfolio consists of different companies that are mostly in manufacturing industries such as the oil & gas industry and the automotive industry.They do not have a specific investment focus. They prefer to ... Open whole case

Chip equity

Solved 28.1k times
4.5 5 993
| Rating: (4.5 / 5.0) |

Our client is an electronics holding called Chip’n’Chip. They want to invest in a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufacturer called OnBoard, and asked you whether it’s going to be a good investment. How would you help them? Open whole case

Paper Print

Solved 12.7k times
4.2 5 299
| Rating: (4.2 / 5.0) |

A printing company is planning to take over another printing company with similar technology and printing machines. The candidate is supposed to evaluate the acquisition by answering a line of questions that are presented in the “suggested approach” section. Open whole case


Solved 10.1k times
3.9 5 1104
| Rating: (3.9 / 5.0)

Our client is SuperBurger, a fast food chain that operates in the same class as McDonalds, Wendy's, Burger King and so on. They're the fourth largest fast food chain worldwide in terms of number of stores in operations. SuperBurger owns some of its stores, but 85% of its stores are owned by franchis ... Open whole case

REA Reinsurance

Solved 9.1k times
4.1 5 900
| Rating: (4.1 / 5.0)

Your client, REA, is a reinsurance company. REA recently acquired another reinsurance company (approximatively same size): the choice of this company was notably based on its product portfolio as well as its market presence which appeared complement with REA. However, the acquisition is not well r ... Open whole case